The winning obstacle design this year was Counterweight, designed by Ross Munro from the UK.
Counterweight is a drawbridge-type obstacle that requires Mudders to pull on a rope to raise the central portion of the bridge out of the water. Once raised the Mudder ahead of them can cross to the other side. Let is slip and the Mudder on the bridge is in for a swim.
We caught up with Ross to chat about his winning design and how it came to be.
How did you first think up your design?
Ross: I first came up with the idea while taking part in the feedback portion of the Tough Mudder Obstacle Innovation Testing in Las Vegas for Kong Infinity. We were all in groups giving feedback on the obstacles we tested that day and trying to create more around buzz words like, ‘Big Splash’ and ‘Teamwork’. This lead to few ideas but nothing major until I saw the challenge this year.
What really inspired this design?
Ross: With the global pandemic, it was a while since I ran or got my book of designs out and had a little sketch. When the competition came round again, I thought I would get back into my old habits and give it another go. I gave myself one constraint this time around which was it had to be a teamwork design. Teamwork designs are definitely the hardest to design but I was up to the challenge. The dream is to get something as popular as Block Ness Monster!
What do you think will be the most challenging part of this design for the Obstacle Innovation Team?
Ross: Getting the balance between the number of people required to lift the bridge without making it too easy or hard.
Obstacle Innovation Team Tips
One question our team wanted to know, how do you see the last person getting across?
Ross: It’s a good question, to be honest! I originally pictured your teammates running back around like they do to help at the walls but never contemplated how far that return walk would be. Since the announcement of Counterweight, I’ve read most of the comments and contemplated a few changes based on people’s reactions.
What are any further tweaks or design advice you have had since the original design?
Ross: One change that could be tested based on feedback from the announcement would be an additional rope on the other side. The downside of this would be the additional help might make it too easy, and you wouldn’t see too many wet runners.
The other way that could be tested for the ‘Last Runner’ is if the rope was long enough to be thrown across the bridge to the already crossed runners. Then they could grab it, pull and allow the last runners to cross. I would also consider adding knots on the rope to avoid rope burn from slipping.
Stay tuned for further updates on the winning design and more Obstacle Innovation developments as we head into 2022. Take it counterpart at a Tough Mudder event near you.